International Athletics

Any colour medal will do - Pearson

2017-08-01 12:49
Sally Pearson (Getty)

Sydney - Australian hurdler Sally Pearson will return to the scene of her greatest triumph when the World Athletics Championships get underway at the London Stadium, hopeful of capping an emotionally draining comeback with a spot on the podium.

Five years ago, Pearson stormed to 100 metre hurdles gold at the London Olympics, a crowning moment after dominating the event in a two-year period that included the 2011 world championship at Daegu and winning the IAAF women's athlete of the year. 

Pearson returned to claim silver at the 2013 worlds in Moscow but has since been absent from the biggest stages due to a horrifying run of injuries. 

At 30 years of age, with creaky hamstrings and a wrist that refuses to bend properly after a "bone explosion" during a sickening fall on the track in 2015, Pearson is nonetheless back and running fast again. 

The London Stadium, which hosts the championships from August 4-13, seems to bring out the best in Pearson, who posted a 12.48 second run at the Diamond League meeting there last month as runnerup behind American world record holder Kendra Harrison. 

It was Pearson's quickest time since her 12.35 run to win the Olympic gold at the same venue and put her third on the year-best lists behind Harrison (12.28) and second-ranked American Jasmin Stowers (12.47). 

The encouraging build-up has Pearson eyeing a medal next week, even as she tries to keep her hopes in check, having become accustomed to crushing disappointment in recent years.

"I have to be fair on myself and remember where I have come from, remember what I have been through with wrists, Achilles, hamstrings, all of that in a short space of time," Pearson told Australian media at the national team's training camp at Tonbridge. 

"But at the same time I am a competitor, so what do I choose? Do I choose to be fair on myself and just say, 'just go out there and enjoy it and have fun', yet my other side is going, 'You are going out there to win'. 

"I would love, deep down, I would love a medal. I really would love a medal. 

"I know you really want me to say gold but that's what I want, I would love a medal and I think that would be a huge success. 

"Any colour, that would be a huge success." 

Since missing out on her Olympic title defence at Rio due to a hamstring strain, Pearson wrestled with thoughts of retirement before resolving to take another crack at the big-time. 

She has plotted her comeback alone and there will be no calming words from a coach before she races on the world stage. 

The process has been both liberating and racked with doubts, as shown when she broke down in tears upon qualifying for the worlds at national trials in Sydney in April. 

Facing a powerful American team boasting Harrison, Olympic silver medallist Nia Ali and 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson, Pearson is mindful of the challenge. 

"Knowing what I have achieved in this stadium before and knowing I'm coming back again, probably not as the favourite to win but certainly a contender to at least medal or make a final or whatever, that sits well with me," said Pearson. 

"But it's going to be hard, it's going to be one of the hardest races that I have ever done in my whole career, even harder than going for (Olympic) gold in London."

NEXT ON SPORT24X

ASA ‘ran a good race’

2017-08-20 08:30

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 PSL season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Patriotism aside, who do you feel deserved to win the 2017 Laureus Breakthrough of the Year award?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.